Titus: Historical Background
Titus Flavius Vespasianus, commonly known as Titus, was the 10th Roman Emperor, serving from 79 AD until his death in 81 AD. He was the elder son of the ninth Roman Emperor, Vespasian, and Domitilla the Elder. His rule was notable for its brevity and the major events that took place during this period.
Before ascending to the throne, Titus had a significant military career under his father’s command. He served with distinction in Britain and Germany, but his fame was primarily earned during the Jewish War that began in 66 AD. As a general, he led the final assault against Jerusalem in 70 AD, destroying the city and the famous Second Temple. This victory was significant for the Romans and solidified Titus’ reputation as a capable military commander.
Upon his father Vespasian’s death in 79 AD, Titus ascended to the imperial throne. The first year of his reign was marked by two major disasters: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and a fire in Rome. The eruption of Vesuvius in August 79 AD completely destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, causing a significant loss of life. Later in the same year, a fire in Rome burned for three days, causing extensive damage.
Despite these challenges, Titus responded with remarkable empathy and leadership. He provided substantial relief efforts from his personal funds and implemented measures to rebuild the affected areas. His handling of these crises won him great admiration from his contemporaries, who saw him as a just and capable ruler.
Titus also completed the construction of the Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Roman engineering prowess initiated by his father, Vespasian. The inauguration of the Colosseum in 80 AD was celebrated with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and mock naval battles.
However, Titus’ reign was to be short-lived. He died of a fever in 81 AD, just two years after his ascension to the throne. His younger brother Domitian succeeded him, who, despite a fraught relationship, deified Titus, marking him as a Roman deity.
Titus was known for his generosity, handling of crises, and military successes. Despite his brief reign, he left a significant mark on Roman history and was considered one of Rome’s best emperors by ancient historians.
Obverse: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laurel head right.
Reverse: TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII, Venus standing right., leaning on cippus, holding helmet in extended right hand and scepter in left.
Diameter: 18 mm
24k Gold plated